India's AMCA: A Budget-Conscious Path to 5th-Gen Capability

India's AMCA: A Budget-Conscious Path to 5th-Gen Capability


India's aviation ambitions have taken a significant leap forward with the recent greenlighting of its Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program. The goal: develop a cutting-edge, domestically produced 5th-generation fighter jet.

What sets the AMCA program apart is its remarkably low budget – approximately Rs 15,000 crores ($1.8 billion) – a fraction of what other nations typically spend on similar endeavors.

Cost Comparisons: AMCA vs. Global Programs​

To put this into perspective, South Korea's KF-21 program, launched in 2015, has an estimated price tag of $6.59 billion. While impressive, the KF-21's initial versions lack true 5th-generation capabilities like internal weapons bays and stealth coatings. A fully stealthy variant (Block-III) is planned for 2030 but is expected to push unit costs above $100 million and overall program costs past $7 billion.

Similarly, Turkey's TF-X (KAAN) program began in 2016 with an initial government investment of $1.18 billion and projections for an additional $2-3 billion to complete its development cycle. Unit costs for the KAAN fighter are estimated at $100-$125 million in its final configuration.

India's Cost-Effective Strategy​

India's AMCA program takes a notably more frugal approach. Initial AMCA variants (AMCA MKI) could cost around Rs 900 crore ($108 million) per unit, potentially dropping to Rs 450-500 crore ($60 million) for subsequent production models.

This affordability stems partly from the decision to use the F-414 engine, which India has the potential to produce domestically from 2027 onwards. The more advanced AMCA MKII, featuring a new indigenous 110kN engine, might see higher initial costs, but these are expected to stabilize with larger-scale production.

Despite cost-saving measures, it's unlikely the AMCA will ever match the flyaway cost of the F-35A (estimated at under $78 million by 2035).

However, India's focus isn't solely on the price tag. The AMCA program emphasizes achieving high levels of indigenization – over 70% for the MKI and exceeding 90% for the MKII. This aims to bolster India's domestic aerospace industry and reduce reliance on foreign suppliers.

Conclusion​

India's AMCA program is a distinctive venture in the world of 5th-generation fighter development. Its comparatively low budget, coupled with a strong commitment to indigenous production, could reshape the future of India's Air Force and broader defense industry.

While challenges remain, the AMCA program's focus on affordability and self-reliance charts a unique trajectory for India's military technological advancements.
 
I am certain, IAF would perfer a copy+pasted Rafale if the private contractor could deliver 500 of them in 10 years, than a fully indigenous, in-house designed and R&D produced Tejas, of which, only 50 have been built till it first took flight 24 years ago
Even till date Dasault havent produce more than 16 Rafale per year there production capacity is under 20 , at the moment they are going with 13 per year. How Indian pvt players can produce 500 Jets witin in Ten years it will b 50 per year . Only in Dreams it will happen Pvt players are not ready for SPV model for AMCA Production.
 
Worse ! Since the objective doesn't stress about time to market, the strategy also does not emphasis on the delivery importance rather on low cost.

The last para should be

In conclusion India's AMCA program represents a bunch of fighter jets which are technologically obsolete by the time of delivery
 
This article is full of oversimplifying and belittling success of others when one doesn't even have similar prototypes yet. Even TAI KAAN prototype is not 5th Gen Jet despite having stealth design features. It takes years of further polishing to make a jet truly stealth. Same goes with that South Korean one. As far as I know, India is building AMCA from scratch without foreign assistant. It is likely, India with limited stealth tech knowledge know how first prototype will not be 5 gen rather a 4.5.
 
This figure of 1.8 billion is not complete for amca. That is just for prototype development. A lot has been spent on developing the substems like stealth coatings, stealthy engine ducts, internal weapon bays etc. Similarly some money has been saved by having a lot of commonality with tejas mk2 and tedbf. Lets hope they can build it man. The models look very promising and give F22 vibes.
Yup, this is a projected cost but taking in account inflation and PSUs inefficiency,which is bound to raise the price significantly.Finally,there is a huge question mark whether HAL/ADA can even deliver a prototype given the persistent issues they face with even baseline 4th Gen jet like Tejas.
 
Yup, this is a projected cost but taking in account inflation and PSUs inefficiency,which is bound to raise the price significantly.Finally,there is a huge question mark whether HAL/ADA can even deliver a prototype given the persistent issues they face with even baseline 4th Gen jet like Tejas.
This is not projected cost, this is the amount sanctioned by the defence ministry specifically for building the prototypes
 
This article is full of oversimplifying and belittling success of others when one doesn't even have similar prototypes yet. Even TAI KAAN prototype is not 5th Gen Jet despite having stealth design features. It takes years of further polishing to make a jet truly stealth. Same goes with that South Korean one. As far as I know, India is building AMCA from scratch without foreign assistant. It is likely, India with limited stealth tech knowledge know how first prototype will not be 5 gen rather a 4.5.
They HAVE BEEN developing this technology(AMCA) since 2008. They have made every engineering drawing for every part. It will be fifth generational and better then Su-57 and compete with f-22. There is no hype in AMCA, only needs make prototype and test it. Even Tejas mk1a(one most highly composite fighter jet in market) has reduced rcs, so expecting AMCA to be better and as stealth will not be some giant leap.
 
Worse ! Since the objective doesn't stress about time to market, the strategy also does not emphasis on the delivery importance rather on low cost.

The last para should be

In conclusion India's AMCA program represents a bunch of fighter jets which are technologically obsolete by the time of delivery
Considering the only country that has a true stealth jet is USA, I really doubt the AMCA is outdated.
 
What is the percent of indigenous content by value in our indigenous HAL Tejas Mk-1? Which our good engineers at HAL have been developing since its first flight in 2000, almost 24 years ago?
What about the money spent on the program itself that's questionable but people's criticism is always on a company which itself has a poor work culture but their is not always their fault only!!
 
This jet is a critical necessity as we need to develop the technology and increase our air and firepower to protect our country. The $1.18 billion is just to develop and produce 5 jets but when production increases the price per jet will reduce for both of the AMCA MK1 and MK2 variants when large orders are placed.

One crucial point is that India shouldn't just look at the cost per jet and just look for the cheapest option possible. We need to spend the money if we want to develop the advanced technology, building materials and machinery to build several production lines. We should also see this as a long term investment as most of the materials, products or content that they will use will be sourced indigenously. This helps our market and military industry to grow as most of the money will be spent indigenously rather than paying expensive foreign costs.
 
They HAVE BEEN developing this technology(AMCA) since 2008. They have made every engineering drawing for every part. It will be fifth generational and better then Su-57 and compete with f-22. There is no hype in AMCA, only needs make prototype and test it. Even Tejas mk1a(one most highly composite fighter jet in market) has reduced rcs, so expecting AMCA to be better and as stealth will not be some giant leap.
I doubt that there is no hype in AMCA. I'm sure the AMCA prototype will be 4.5 instead of 5th generation, just like the TAI Kaan and KF-21. This prototype will have to be tested and polished further to ensure that it is truly is 5th generation. To be truly a stealth, fighter jets need to be flight tested in real life. Only then through further improvements and feedbacks it can achieve desirable result. Comparisons with Tejas make no sense at all because Tejas is smaller in size, which reduces its RCS.
 
They HAVE BEEN developing this technology(AMCA) since 2008. They have made every engineering drawing for every part. It will be fifth generational and better then Su-57 and compete with f-22. There is no hype in AMCA, only needs make prototype and test it. Even Tejas mk1a(one most highly composite fighter jet in market) has reduced rcs, so expecting AMCA to be better and as stealth will not be some giant leap.
While the goal may be to develop a fifth-generation prototype, it's common for initial prototypes to undergo further refinement and testing to reach full fifth-generation capabilities. The process typically involves iterative improvements based on testing feedback and technological advancements. This iterative approach is crucial for ensuring that the final production version achieves the desired fifth-generation standards.
 
Very Nice news in the Morning some where saying Indigenous content is not even 50% ,so this is eye opener for them .secondly couple of days i said other ongoing 5th gen project are 4.75 generation Fighter jet the author corrected into 4.5th Gen.KHAN even not yet developed its aero-engine so Final Block of so called 4.75 Gen Steath Fighter may b inducted post 2030 . its time line is matching with AMCA.Taking First flight isdoent mean its production ready .F-35 still have some problems.AMCA MK1 apart from Low cost Funding it will b 5.5th Gen & AMCA MK2 will b Gth Gen Features. India is doing best by not joining any offers of Sixth Gen Stealth Fighter project.
Initial prototypes of fighter jets, even when designed with fifth-generation features, often require further development and testing to fully realize their fifth-generation capabilities. Therefore, it's not accurate to belittle prototypes like the TAI Kaan and KF-21 by labeling them as merely 4.5 generation. These aircraft have the potential to evolve into true fifth-generation fighters through iterative improvements and testing.
 
Even till date Dasault havent produce more than 16 Rafale per year there production capacity is under 20 , at the moment they are going with 13 per year. How Indian pvt players can produce 500 Jets witin in Ten years it will b 50 per year . Only in Dreams it will happen Pvt players are not ready for SPV model for AMCA Production.
Only 6-8/year on an average, they rarely make 13-16/ year when they do overtime.
 

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